WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - In a tense game filled with dramatic offensive rebounds and impressive breakaways, Williams College women's basketball team (8-7/2-2 NESCAC) was defeated by the Amherst College Mammoths (13-1/3-0 NESCAC) 65-54 in part of one of the "Little Three" games. Amherst, on an 11-game winning streak, is the defending national champion and is ranked fifth in the country.
"There were many possessions where they had three seconds on the shot clock and they would take a shot and then get the o-board," said head coach Pat Manning. "They came up big, but I was happy with how we fought."
Amherst boasted two of the top scorers, senior Madeline Eck (12 rebounds) and junior Hannah Fox, who claimed 19 and 18 points respectively. Williams' Meehan also put up 18 points as the top scorer for her team. All three players were on the court for the full forty minutes of the game. The Eph's Gabby Martin also made her first double-double of the season, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Amherst's Fox kicked off the game with two points from the paint, which would develop into 10 points for her alone during the first period. Meehan claimed a similar number, putting up nine points for Williams. Even as the Ephs were out-rebounded by the Mammoths, they continued to pull even with Amherst's score but were not able to claim a definitive lead or hold a tie for more than a minute and a half at a time. However, Williams was able to cut the deficit to one before the buzzer sounded, leaving the score with Amherst up 20-19 in the highest scoring quarter for both teams.
Three baskets in a row from Amherst by Eck and senior Meghan Sullivan put the Mammoths immediately at an advantage in the beginning of the second. With almost half the period gone, only Martin of Williams had scored on behalf of the Ephs, nailing two layups in a row. After a timeout by Williams, play resumed with Maeve NcNamara making a defensive rebound on behalf of Amherst, sending Williams' defense sprinting down the court to ultimately regain possession and score with a three-pointer by senior co-captain Lauren Vostal. However, the Ephs had a nine-point deficit to work off, which they brought down to six by the end of the half, with Amherst leading 36-30.
Dual layups in a row from Eck put the pressure on Williams to push back on the Mammoth's top scorer. Eck, who is the Mammoth's second highest top scorer and boasts almost a 10-point gap between her and the third-highest scorer, would score eight points for Amherst over the course of the third. However, the Ephs were undeterred, and steadily climbed upwards with four different player contributing points to tie with Amherst in scoring for the period.
Amherst's ball control put them ahead of the Ephs in the fourth, with zero turnovers on their part in comparison to the Eph's three. Fox put Williams' back to being down by 10 with a three-point shot, which Meehan and junior Katie Brule cut to five less than a minute later. The Mammoths broke into the 60-point range with less than a minute and a half left of the clock, and did not let the Ephs through for the rest of the game to win 65-54.
"We'll just regroup. Our record doesn't indicate how good we are, but we can be right there–we just have to get key stops," asserted Manning. "It's definitely within us, so we'll be ready to go."
The Ephs will play at Middlebury on Saturday at 2:00 PM.